COVID-19 School Closure Information and Q&A
March 15, 2020
Dear Spartanburg School District Seven Community,
As you know, District Seven has been closely monitoring coronavirus (COVID-19) with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), SC Department of Education, Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and neighboring school systems. The situation has evolved daily and our top priority has been – and will remain – the health and safety of our students, staff, and school community. The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented community health concern; therefore, we are continuing to develop and evolve our plans to best respond to these unprecedented circumstances.
While we are currently not aware of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 within District 7, in the interest of public health and at the direction of our governor, we are closing school beginning Monday, March 16 with a tentative plan to reopen on Monday, April 6 (following Spring Break).
Plans for Monday, March 16 ONLY:
- District 7 teachers and staff will report to work on a normal schedule.
- Parents and students needing to pick up essential school supplies, technology devices, or medications may do so between 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Those who are unable to pick up during this timeframe should contact their school directly to coordinate another time.
- Third graders, who do not typically bring their Macbooks home, will be able to pick up their computers for use during the closure period. This is optional for third graders, as their remote learning assignments do not need to be downloaded digitally as is the case with grades 4 – 12.
- A bagged lunch for students can be picked up from school cafeterias between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Instructions pertaining to students’ remote and eLearning procedures during the closure period are below. Information about our COVID-19 monitoring and response will continue to be posted on our district website at www.spartanburg7.org. As additional information and guidance becomes available, we will continue to provide updates.
Importantly, District 7 will continue to provide breakfast and lunch to students during this period of closure with delivery via our school buses and selected locations in the community. Details on this plan are outlined below. Our schools and buses will continue to be thoroughly sanitized disinfected using COVID-19 approved cleaners during this time. We ask families to wash backpacks, coats, and jackets as soon as possible as well.
In order to protect our community and our nation, this closure is an important and necessary action. This decision was undeniably difficult because we understand the important impact of each day spent in a classroom. We know this sudden closure is a disruption to our families and employees. We also understand the enormity of this situation, the uncertainty of the days ahead, and the need for leadership through actions that protect and “flatten the curve” for spreading COVID-19. We are learning together, engaging in a lesson about decisions that transcend politics, that speak to our humanity, and that bring us closer together as a community.
Especially in this uncertain time, we appreciate each of you for your continued support. Moreover, we thank you for your patience and understanding now and especially in the days ahead. I would dare say many of us have never experienced a disruption to our daily lives of this magnitude. We are a family, and times like this bring out our best as we all pull together. Please take the necessary precautions to keep yourself, your families, and the broader community safe. I encourage you to check in on your family members, your neighbors and your friends. You are all in my prayers, and we will be sure to stay in touch.
Russell W. Booker
Spartanburg School District Seven COVID-19 Closure Questions & Answers
Version Date: March 25, 2020 (This document will be updated as needed)
What schools will be closed during this period?
- ALL District Seven schools will be closed for students and visitors through the end of April. These steps are part of an ongoing process the district has implemented to deal with the ever-changing COVID-19 crisis. As new events occur, additional government and public health announcements are made, and circumstances change, our leadership team will monitor and provide updates to our District 7 community.
- We ask our families to be mindful that closing schools and initiating remote learning options have been implemented to limit social contact that slows the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we all work through this situation together. We encourage you to maximize the impact of this effort by practicing social distancing in your daily lives to the fullest extent possible. The guidance we have been given is that we must act in tandem as a community through our commitment to this effort.
Will schools and offices be open during this time?
- Staff members will report on Monday, March 16 to further prepare for this closure. Beginning Tuesday, March 17 all school buildings and other District 7 facilities will be closed to everyone except approved members of the staff. During this time, our custodial and maintenance crews will provide a thorough and extensive sanitizing regimen in all facilities. This will include special attention to detail in areas such as locker rooms, event venues, restrooms, cafeterias, auditoriums, field houses, and all spaces that we can systematically cover to prepare for students’ return. Buildings will remain closed until school resumes in order to ensure they remain clean.
- We will provide future guidance for all staff members on expected roles to be played during this time.
When will families receive an update if the closures are extended?
- District 7 will regularly update our community on any potential extension of the closure period. We will use our messaging system to update parents through automated calls and emails as well as communicate via our social media pages and district/school websites. Any parent or guardian who has not been receiving automated calls and emails from District 7 this year should contact their school to provide updated contact information immediately.
- Employees should look to their District 7 email accounts for ongoing updates and information.
Will students have access to meals during the closure period?
District 7 is providing a bagged breakfast and lunch daily during the school closure starting on Tuesday, March 17. Complete information and the updated meal service schedules is located here.
Will our students still get spring break?
- Spring Break is scheduled from March 27 – April 5 for students. It will continue as planned. We hope all members of the District 7 community will rest and reenergize by disconnecting during this time.
Will District 7 be required to make up days at the end of the year?
- Our staff has been working hard to provide meaningful instruction for our students through both eLearning and other remote learning means. This will allow instruction to carry on, and days will not have to be made up. The complete overview of District 7’s eLearning can be found at https://www.spartanburg7.org/elearning.
How will remote learning and eLearning work during the closure?
- District 7 teachers, students and families are already familiar with our eLearning procedures. We will operate in the same manner in which we are accustomed, with teachers being available to support students throughout the closure period. Students or parents will hear directly from their teachers and schools with assignments. Please refer to our eLearning overview at https://www.spartanburg7.org/elearning for complete details.
- School and District technology staff will be on call to support students and parents. Students should first work with their teacher to resolve any technical issues. If an issue can’t be resolved, the teacher will contact their school’s technology support staff member. If an issue still cannot be resolved, school staff will contact the District’s technology team.
We have limited internet access at home. What plans are there to support students in this situation?
- We recognize that not all households have internet service. A list of public places where Wi-Fi access is available and resources for companies providing free home Wi-Fi service for students during the COVD-19 closure is located here.
My child has a question about their school assignment. How are teachers expected to provide support during this closure period?
- This is not a vacation for students or employees – they will just be working at a different location. Teachers will be available to support students via email, Schoology or any other methods of communication teachers have arranged during regular school hours.
My child has a sporting or other school activity, practice, or event during this time. Will it take place?
- No, ALL activities are being cancelled or postponed, beginning on Monday, March 16. Sports teams and other groups cannot practice or meet during the closure period.
Will before- or after-school programs sponsored by outside organizations take place?
- No, these programs will follow our school closure period as well.
Where will I be able to get updated information?
- Emails, social media, and our district and school websites will provide the latest information. The district website will have a link to several online learning platforms.
My child’s medication is at school. How can I get it?
- A parent or guardian may pick up any necessary medications from their school on Monday, March 16 between 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
What should I do if I think my child is sick?
- It is the recommendation that you contact your healthcare provider and explain your or your child’s symptoms. They will give you direction.